Welcome back to The Week in Weed, your Friday look at what’s happening in the world of legalized marijuana. This week, we note that HHS released the full text of its report on cannabis rescheduling. State attorneys general are in favor of said rescheduling. DC is cracking down on cannabis “gifting” stores. Virginia’s governor has no interest in setting up a retail market. And finally, if you’re looking for a new religious practice, check out Detroit’s Ganga Clergy.

HHS DOCUMENT RELEASE

Last month, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) released a heavily redacted version of their recommendation to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) that cannabis be moved from Schedule I to Schedule III. Now, the agency has released the full text of those documents, a whopping 252 pages of information. HHS bases its recommendation on marijuana’s accepted medical use, and notes that cannabis has less potential for abuse than other drugs in Schedule I or II. Of course, the DEA will make its own decision, as we noted earlier this month.

ATTORNEYS GENERAL LETTER

Of course, every state Attorney General knows that the final decision on rescheduling rests with the DEA, but that doesn’t mean a little friendly correspondence couldn’t help, right? Twelve AGs from states where cannabis is legal in some form are hoping that’s true. Basing their argument on public health concerns, the AGs urge the DEA to follow HHS’ recommendation.

State-sanctioned cannabis markets provide access to regulated products that are clearly safer to what individuals can buy on the street—and supporting the effective operation of these regulated markets thus fits with our commitment to addressing the opioid crisis and rising overdose deaths.

Attorneys General Letter Requesting MJ Rescheduling

DISTRICT OF COLUMBIA

As we have explained previously, the District of Columbia is a jurisdiction unlike any other. It legalized adult-use of cannabis years ago, but has been prohibited by Congress from setting up a retail market. This situation has led business owners to find ways around the situation, including “gifting” shops. The idea is that the customer purchases an item (a T-shirt, a bottle of water, a sticker) and receives a gift with purchase. Just like at the perfume counter, except the gift is weed! In 2022, the DC Council lifted the cap on the number of medical marijuana dispensaries in the city, allowing the gifting shops the opportunity to become registered businesses. Now, the Council has decided to put some teeth behind this measure – penalizing those shops that have not applied to the MMJ program. As an emergency measure, the bill will go into effect upon the Mayor’s signature, but will only remain in effect for 90 days. Proponents of the bill hope to pass a permanent bill. Stay tuned!

VIRGINIA

Last year’s state elections brought a Democratic majority to the Virginia legislature, and proponents of a retail cannabis market hoped that would mean progress in setting up legal sales. Governor Glenn Youngkin (R) doesn’t seem inclined to make those hopes a reality.

I just don’t have a lot of interest in pressing forward with marijuana legislation.

Governor Glenn Youngkin (R-VA)

AND FINALLY

In Bull Durham, Susan Sarandon’s character, Annie Savoy, talked about her spiritual journey to the church of baseball. Detroit’s Nydia the Ganga Clergy’s journey led her to cannabis. She offers monthly religious cannabis ceremonies, and consumption is the primary ritual. Her plan is to expand to cities beyond Detroit by 2025.

Be well everyone – we’ll see you next week.